Belgium’s State Council has on Friday suspended licenses for arms and military equipment sold by the region of Wallonia to the Saudi National Guard, following a review by human rights organisations.
The country’s top administrative court considered that these permits did not meet standards for human rights and respect for international law in the end-user country.
However, the court rejected the organisations’ request to suspend export permits to the Royal Guard of Saudi Arabia.
The review was submitted to the Council by the National League for Human Rights and Coordination for Peace and Democracy, and the peace organisation Vredesactie.
In February, the southern Belgian region of Wallonia halted weapons sales to Saudi Arabia’s Defence Ministry and Air Force over concerns about the conduct of its war in Yemen.
But, it decided to continue supplying the Royal and National Guards of Saudi Arabia, considering that these weapons were “aimed exclusively at protecting members of the royal family, symbolic religious sites and the area within the Saudi borders.”
“The ultimate goal [of the weapons] is not to be used in Yemen,” Wallonia said back then.
In Belgium, the power to issue arms licenses to manufacturers is a power vested in the regional executive authorities (Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels). The majority of arms factories are located in Wallonia.
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